It's been a busy year, with our first visit to E3 we saw a lot of fantastic games that would be released at the end of this year, and even the end of next year. We've reviewed a lot of games, and played a LOT of simulators and I believe that this list fully summarises what I believe are some of the best games of this year, don't be surprised that Skyrim is not present!
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Windows
My personally most anticipated game of 2011 did not fail to deliver; and Deus Ex: Human Revolution was everything that a die-hard Deus Ex fan could dream for. Whilst Square Enix did appear to put some of their own 'Square' changes to the franchise Deus Ex proved an adequate sequel to one of the most groundbreaking games released in the last ten years. Who'd of thought that third person cover and first person gameplay would have merged together so brilliantly.
The Book of Unwritten Tales
Every so often a truly brilliant adventure game comes along like The Longest Journey, or The Whispered World. Well 2011 bestowed us with The Book of Unwritten Tales that inspires you to remember all of the fantastic fantasy films that you enjoyed as a child. With allusions to the Neverending Story, The Princess Bride and other timeless 80s classics, The Book of Unwritten Tales is an homage to everything that is fantasy, and one of the most charming and engaging tales to curl up to.
Trucks and Trailers
Trucks and Trailers was a surprise hit simulator that took a little known concept in 18 Wheeler and made it into an addictive arcade-simulator. The aim of the game is to park trucks, yes, park trucks. The catch? You’ve a ridiculously short time to park it, not to mention obstacles such as parallel parking, reversing into extremely small spaces for a truck and oncoming traffic. If you like vehicular simulators and you are not really sure why, you need to check out Trucks and Trailers.
Not another simulator?! Well to be fair, Bus and Cable Car Simulator is actually on the verge of branching out from the simulator genre and is more of an openworld sandbox where you can do as you please. Whether it is buying a new pair of sunglasses or perusing the cars at the local dealership, you've a whole city to explore alongside the upkeep, and various routes that run through San Francisco, but who doesn’t want to be a bus driver?
With well over 10 different DLC packs it is hard to believe that the cult hit indie game Magicka was only released this year. A particularly humble game to look at, Magicka packs a lot of punch in its unique game mechanics that allow you to create spells with eight basic elements to potentially deadly effect. Although the game has its faults, and online play will not make it the smoothest game on your PC, the inventive nature of the magic system is beyond gimmicky, and it'll make you wish that every other magic based game worked the same.
Top Downloadable Game of 2011
Xbox 360, Playstation 3
With a lot of impressive downloadable games released throughout the year, Stacking proved to have not only the most heart, but all the character of a charmingly brilliant game, and the mechanics to rival the very best of them. The unique concept of Matryoshka dolls makes it stand apart from the mass of action-orientated titles and the endeavours that Charlie Blackmore must confront to save his labouring family across the industrial backdrop will stay in your heart for many years.
Most Anticipated Game of 2012
I wanted to say a big game, one of the huge blockbusters out next year like Hitman: Absolution or Max Payne 3, but when it came down to picking there was only one choice:
Crusader Kings II
Crusader Kings II is the sequel to a little known grand strategy hit from 2001, rather than ask you to take a nation to glory in the heat of battle with an army of thousands, Crusader Kings asks you to keep a dynasty or family alive through the middle ages. More of a soap opera than your stereotypical strategy you will need to ensure that family relationships are upheld, your heirs are strong contenders for your seat, and that meddling from outside families do not destroy the great estate of whateveryournameis. Whilst we have already played the game for our recently published preview, Crusader Kings II is one of the most engaging and addictive games that we have played since The Sims invaded PC’s.
2011 has disappeared like a derailed train on fire, and we cannot wait to see what games 2012 holds for us. We hope that you all had very merry festivities and a fantastic new year!
Watch this space for writers Catherine, Paul and Tim's top games of 2011.